Friday, March 24, 2006

WCW on Marianne Moore

From WCW, Spring and All (1923):

"...I believe in the main that Marianne Moore is of all American writers most constantly a poet--not because her lines are invariably full of imagery they are not, they are often diagrammatically informative, and not because she clips her work into certain shapes--her pieces are without meter most often--but I believe she is most constantly a poet in her work because the purpose of her work is invariably from the source from which poetry starts--that it is constantly from the purpose of poetry. And that it actually possesses this characteristic, as of that origin, to a more distinguishable degree when it eschews verse rhythms than when it does not. It has the purpose of poetry written into it and therefore it is poetry."

From The Autobiography (1951):

"Marianne Moore, like a rafter holding up the superstructure of our uncompleted building, a caryatid, her red hair plaited and wound twice about the fine skull, though she was surely one of the main supports of the new order, was no luckier than the rest of us. One night (Mina Loy was there also) we all met at some Dutch-treat party in a cheap restaurant on West Fifteenth Street or thereabouts. There must have been twenty of us. Marianne, with her sidelong laugh and shake of the head, quite childlike and overt, was in awed admiration of Mina's long-legged charms. Such things were in our best tradition. Marianne was our saint--if we had one--in whom we all instinctively felt our purpose come together to form a stream. Everyone loved her."

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